When that fruitcake comes to the table are you already stuffed with stuffing? It turns out that a mega-capacity stomach, that legendary superpower of competitive eaters, may be available to the rest of us. Too bad we would have had to start training weeks ago. Image by Annibale Carracci via Wikipedia
Dieters' stomachs really do shrink, STAT reports, and binge eaters have a greater stomach capacity than the rest of us. Competitive eaters, the people who win hot dog eating contests, "train" in part by swallowing large quantities of water.
Competitive eaters "can train their stomach to enlarge and expand to an extraordinary degree," said Dr. Marc Levine, who serves as chief of gastrointestinal radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and has researched stomach stretching. "Literally the entire abdomen … [becomes] this giant flaccid sack that can take phenomenal volumes of food."
Dr Levine asked a competitive eater and an average Joe to eat barium-dipped hot dogs (the better to show up on X-rays). The competitive eater's stomach expanded to accommodate the 36 hot dogs, until he looked "like he was carrying a full term pregnancy".
Even though there's no time to train, you have other options if you're trying to stuff down the stuffing (not that we recommend that). Read more at the link below to learn what competitive eaters can teach us about overcoming the signals that tell us to stop eating -- and consider using the tips in reverse to feel full with less.